Archive for December, 2013

Making Better Bad Decisions

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

There are many excuses for failed NYE resolutions. These are mine.

HEALTHY CHEAP FOAM WHOLESALE YOU BUY NOWResolution: Get more rest. I can’t afford a Tempur-Pedic® TEMPUR-Topper (but why so stupid a name?), which would make spending eight hours on my bed much easier, but in the face of a 2007 study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, this excuse falls short. A tired brain is more susceptible to temptation, Wiseman found, making the value of a night’s rest a serious priority with regards to willpower. Problem is, willpower and one’s ability to control impulses are located in the prefrontal cortex, just behind the forehead, and I’ve bashed that in enough to qualify for some of that NFL money. The “better bad decision”? Hello! Discount foam!

1958 Borg Home Bathroom Scale.jpgResolution: Lose weight. I need to lose about 15 pounds, but with everything I’ve learned about myself and the (same) 15 pounds I needed to lose last year, hell, I’m going into this with such an advantage that I might not even have to modify my food choices. But just in case, I’ve got a fallback position. It’s a “better bad decision” to eat a few dozen less of the things I love, so I’ll just buy ’em every other time I’m at the grocery store. Lesson learned: self awareness isn’t enough. (more…)

How Head Lice Saved My Christmas

Friday, December 27th, 2013

When help arrived this far-gone family’s mental resources were DONE

HOLIDAYS ON LICE_Where Excuses Go to DieAnd when I say “done,” I mean that arguing and shrieking could be heard from the driveway. Anna, the specialist who’d soon be knocking on their front door, had been given detailed instructions and a description of the wits’ end she’d have to deal with. Slowing for the address, Anna pictured having to talk her way past a police perimeter or finding the family of seven tossing its furniture into a bonfire on the lawn. These were panicked people.

Not one of them knew which had been child zero, the one to bring the louse home. They only knew that dad couldn’t go to work; the kids had been removed from school; and no one had so much as put on a sock in four days. They all wore towels, the only cloth they believed wasn’t contaminated. Each was driving the others nuts with complaints and tantrums – let alone living the misconceptions of their predicament.

When the 14-year-old shaved parts of her head with the wailing martyrdom of St Ludmila of Bohemia, mom finally called a head lice removal service. Where she’d once been too proud to dial Hair Whisperers, Lice Lifters, The Lice Squad, and especially an outfit called Lice Schmice, at this point she’d been reduced to begging. (more…)

Remembering Joe Strummer – August ’52 – December ’02

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Strummer was a rock ‘n roll hero tailor-made for a sinner like me.

“The toughest thing is facing yourself. Being honest with yourself, that’s much tougher than beating someone up. That’s what I call tough.”

“When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don’t learn nothing…”

“I’d define it as self-awareness: an ability to trust your own judgment. An ability to see through veils of bullshit or spins on stories or propaganda. Maybe an ability to think for yourself.”

Joe Strummer – August 21, 1952 – December 22, 2002

Check out Jail Guitar Doors, an organization created “in the spirit of justice and public service” to honor the life of Joe Strummer, to bring music and other educational and vocational programs to inmates, and to raise awareness for prison reform issues.

Joe Strummer_ Rankin:Rankin Film

Affluenza: Ass-Backward Social Conditioning

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

As a trapped society are we now chewing off our own leg to survive?

THE PATHOLOGY OF WEALTH IS WHERE EXCUSES GO TO DIEAmidst the dumbing down and de-waging of America, are we now also agreeing that if a child is raised in a household where excuses are the norm, this in itself is insurance from liability? Holy crap! Are there no limits to the a-hole ethics and diminished expectations we’ll sign off on?

Whatever your answer, we’re probably still going to be arguing about this five years from now, so get used to the term “affluenza.”

Welcome to Where Excuses Go to Die’s 2013 Excuse of the Year.

After killing four people, Ethan Couch  –a lethally spoiled  16-year-old drunk driver–  got off  essentially scot-free: not because he’s rich, but because of complications resulting from wealth. What complications? Well, for starters, mom and dad never taught him right from wrong.  Also, being raised in a monstrously overprivileged environment provided freedoms that Ethan’s child brain was incapable of processing. Unsupervised access to disposable income and empty luxury homes didn’t help, as they conditioned Ethan to remain separate from his peers, i.e. immune to the lessons learned in moral training grounds teenagers tend to create for themselves. The kicker, far as I see it, is that, as a child, Ethan learned if you hurt someone you sent them money. (more…)

LA County Sheriff’s Christmas Special

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Top 10 reasons you’re glad these

losers are being made examples of

County Sheriff’s Christmas Special_Where Excuses Go to Die

“There’s no perfect law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, let alone the United States.”
– Sheriff Lee Baca on the FBI indictment of 18 LA Sheriff’s Deputies
(A ceremonial dagger of an excuse for poor leadership if there ever was one.)

Cops and Cathedrals – Part I

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

For me, really embracing Detroit means being a wreckage dork first

Downtown Detroit Lives_©Where Excuses Go to DieI’m in Detroit this week and have assorted free days to leave the safe confines of my host’s Grosse Pointe neighborhood for Mad Max Island, aka downtown.

I’m sitting at a table with coffee now, preparing  for the 21º weather and listening to police scanner feeds covering Wayne County, which itself is like sticking my hand into a bucket of ice water before it’s poured over my head.

Off Waverly Street, a policewoman reports, a fight between two women has just ended with one holding the other’s hand in a car door and breaking it. A suicidal man is offering to kill himself, but through police observations from across the street, he has a severely autistic adult in tow who is resolutely unwilling to step away.

“Daughter is threatening mother with a gun over a check” crackles over the air, followed by an officer in another location answering a call involving “a group of people” attempting to “force their way into a home” where workers are inside. Aside from that literal siege, a mile away, an actual home invasion is announced as being “in progress.” (more…)